|Out my basement-office ground-level window, I often see birds, squirrels and the occasional passing cat. Most cats scurry out of site once they notice me in the office. Other critters scatter when they detect motion, hear my shutter click, or otherwise decide there’s some reason to vamoose.
This visiting kitty (upper right) came around underneath the plants at the corner of the house, taking in the view along the side in front of my office.
When I captured the first picture, I expected the cat to flee. Instead the cat seemed indifferent, moving down to the window and peering into my office.
|The cat took its time and moved along the wide window to the far side, seeming puzzled by the screen arrangement at the left.
By now I was working at capturing the cat’s attention. It ignored me, finally loping off back the way it came, vanishing back under the shrubbery.
|Not until the cat was completely out of my site did Prince Teh Amor, our household male cat, arrive. He hopped up onto one of my computer towers and launched himself up against the window, standing on the sill to express his upset with the stranger.
I don’t know whether the other cat was even in view. He offered his yowling complaints just the same.
I’m doing everything I can to not distract him while I work to get his picture. I figure he’ll hop or fall off the narrow sill real soon now.
|Well, he manages to stay on the window long enough to express his displeasure to me as well.
I’ve had neighborhood cats at the window before, but rarely at the same time that one of ours has noticed. In both cases, so far, there was unexpected behavior.
This time, it was the late reaction of Teh Amor that took me by surprise.
I was not set up for nature photography from some remote-controlled blind. I happened to have my camera at my desk, and I used the opportunity to grab several shots very quickly without moving around much and shying the cat away. Teh’s arrival was also sudden and unexpected. I wasn’t sure how long he would stay on the narrow window sill. I shot very rapidly and did not adjust the exposure or focus at all. I was never sure when either cat would bolt from the window.
With CaptureNX,I now know to go through the basic setting first, thanks to the second day of Nikon School. Because I use Nikon’s RAW format all of the time, I was able to over-ride some of the exposure adjustments that were made in the camera. I changed the exposure compensation to over-expose the images and bring up the shaded foreground as much as was safe. The white balance was adjusted for cloudy daylight. This was all after the fact. To rescue the Teh Amor pictures, I also needed to be extra-creative with brightness and contrast. Seeing them together I see that it would have helped to take the contrast down some more and dull the back lighting to match the first image. I may try that again just to see how much better I can do.
I still don’t have an efficient workflow, but I notice that I am learning to avoid experimenting with adjustments that won’t be useful in a given situation. That picks up the pace, but there is still a great deal of trial-and-error, as you can see.